Best Things to Do in Warsaw

The Historic Centre of Warsaw sits on the Vistula River's left bank

With so many things to see and do, Warsaw is a great option for travellers looking to avoid the crowds of tourists that throng the streets of more popular destinations such as Kraków, Gdańsk, and Wrocław.

Over 85% of Warsaw’s buildings were destroyed in the Second World War, as depicted movingly in the Roman Polanski film The Pianist (2002). The rebuilding of the Historic Centre continued until the mid-1960s. In 1980, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as "an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century".

Visit the Royal Castle Square

Sigismund's Column is one of Warsaw’s most famous landmarks

The Royal Castle Square is a good first stop when touring the sites of Warsaw’s Old Town. It features the landmark Sigismund's Column to the south-west, and is surrounded by historic houses. The various street performers, musicians and merchants that line the streets here will certainly keep you entertained as well.

This beautiful square is the site of numerous outdoor exhibitions, concerts and other public events throughout the year.

Visit the Old Town Market Square

The Old Town Market Square

The Old Town Market Square dates back to the 13th century, and used to be the centre of Warsaw’s life, hosting political speeches and executions.

Today the square offers a wide range of cocktail bars and good restaurants as well as street art and souvenirs. Whilst you are here, you might also like to visit the Literature Museum and the Historical Museum of Warsaw.

Relax at the Royal Łazienki Park

The Palace on the Isle is one of the most valuable Polish historical buildings, housing the Royal Picture Gallery

With picturesque alleys, small ponds, historic palaces and creative sculptures, the Royal Łazienki is the most beautiful public park in the city. It is famous for concerts of Fryderyk Chopin music, which take place from the middle of May to the end of September.

In the 18th century, the place became the property of Poland’s last monarch King Stanisław August Poniatowski. The best architects of the time, including the Italian architect Domenico Merlini, filled this space with magnificent Classicistic buildings.

Admire the city from the Palace of Culture and Science

East view of the Palace of Culture and Science

At 237 metres (778 ft) high, the towering Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Poland. It can be seen from almost every part of the capital.

Constructed in 1955 as a “gift of the Soviet people for the Poles”, the building today houses cinemas, theatres, museums, universities, libraries, sport clubs and, at the top, a panoramic view of the city.

Visit St. Mary's Gothic Church

Warsaw Gothic Church
East view of St. Mary's Church

Built between 1409 and 1411, it is one of the oldest buildings and one of the few surviving examples of Gothic architecture in the city. St. Mary's Church is located in a picturesque and quiet area of the New Town.

Its most striking characteristic is the tower, features in many historic panorama paintings of Warsaw.

Visit the Rococo Church of St. Joseph of the Visitationists

North-west view of the Visitationist Church

The Church of St. Joseph of Visitationists was built in the Rococo style according to the plans of the Polish architect Karol Bay in the years of 1728–1763. It is one of the few buildings in Warsaw, which was not damaged during the Second World War.

In 1825–1826, Poland's greatest composer Fryderyk Chopin used to play on the church organ here.

Walk the Royal Route

Nowy Świat street is closed to drivers in the summer, becoming a popular and welcoming place to promenade

The Royal Route is one of the most beautiful venues in Warsaw. Among the buildings lining the streets Krakowskie Przedmieście and Nowy Świat are the Neoclassical Presidential Palace, the Warsaw University campus, as well as beautiful churches and houses.

This historic thoroughfare is a big draw because of its shops and extensive range of bars, cafés and restaurants.

Visit St. Anthony of Padua Baroque Church

Warsaw Baroque Church
The Interior of the Church of St. Anthony of Padua

This is the first Warsaw Baroque church, build in 1671–1681 for the Order of the Franciscans reformers to a design by the Italian architect Simone Giuseppe Belotti.

St. Anthony of Padua Church was often visited by King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, John III Sobieski (1629–1696).

Visit St. Mary Magdalene Byzantine Cathedral

Warsaw Orthodox Cathedal
The left Deacon's Doors of the Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene

The main Polish Orthodox Church, built in the Byzantine style, was opened in 1869. It is one of the two (the second is the Orthodox church in the Orthodox cemetery in Wola) surviving Orthodox churches in Warsaw after the demolition of Orthodox churches in Poland, once the country reclaimed its independence in the 1920s.

In 1965, St. Mary Magdalene Cathedral was entered into the Polish register of monuments.

Tour the Copernicus Science Centre

Copernicus Science Centre
Plazma ball at High Voltage Theatre, Copernicus Science Centre

The Copernicus Science Centre, standing on the bank of the Vistula River, is one of the largest and most modern science centres in Europe – over 450 interactive exhibitions await the visitor in six interdisciplinary galleries.

This is a great place for both adults and kids to learn a lot about Polish scientific discoveries, as well as other scientific discoveries of the world.

Visit the Warsaw Zoo

A brown bear at Warsaw Zoo

Opened in 1928, the Warsaw Zoological Garden covers about 40 hectares (99 acres). It is home to over 4,200 animals representing more than 500 different species.

The zoo is an accredited member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

Stroll along the Vistula River Boulevards

The Vistula River Boulevards are one of the most attractive and most frequented public spaces in the city

The Vistula River Boulevards, located on the western side of the river, are the ideal place for a stroll or a bicycle trip. The promenade is also adapted for the needs of people with disabilities and families with children. Warsaw can now say its riverside boulevard is one of the best in Europe.

The Boulevards offer different functions and can be divided into the three areas: recreational, service, and historical.

Hop on a tram and ride

Tram line 4

The best way to see parts of Warsaw you might otherwise miss is to hop on a tram and just ride it out in any direction. I recommend riding either the 4 or 7 trams. They take you through some of Warsaw’s most important landmarks. There is a special route T operated by historic cars from pl. Narutowicza. 'T' only runs in July and August.

The first electric trams appear on the city's streets in 1908. Today, the extensive network consists of 27 tram routes. It stretches over 290 km (180 mi), and transports over 48 million passengers per year.

Warsaw at night

Night in Warsaw
The old part of Warsaw is a wonderful and very pleasant place for walking at night

Warsaw at night is different – it is more charming thanks to the illumination. The city does a great job lighting the buildings, and from across the Vistula River you can get great views and photos at night.

The capital of Poland is developing a vibrant nightlife scene, with many trendy clubs and bars constantly opening, and it is getting a reputation as one of the best places for an affordable night out.

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  1. Oh my! The places you've visited in Warsaw are gorgeous! Definitely adding this to my list of places to visit!

  2. This place looks awesome! There is a Warsaw in Missouri that I thought of when I first saw your post= this looks way more cool ha!

  3. Cristina8:27 am EET

    Poland is probably a day drive away from my country and it's definitely on my bucket list!

    Seeing some of this pics make me remember some of the spots from my town, which makes me wanna visit it ever more.

  4. This looks like such a beautiful city! I had no idea that most of it had been wiped out by WWII. My family and I are going to Europe next year, so I'll definitely have to keep this in mind. I've heard some really wonderful things about Poland, so I need to get there at some point!

  5. These photos are gorgeous! There are so many interesting things to do--I may have to add Warsaw to my travel list!